How they met

TONY: Some would call it a chance meeting, but we believe we were destined for each other. A year ago, I had just moved back to Los Angeles from New York, to take an IT position with a startup tech company, when an old friend, Trent, invited me to a small get-together in Santa Monica. It was a wonderful evening, and I found myself very drawn to the beautiful and charming hostess, who was the best friend of Trent’s sister. After a wonderful dinner, we all moved into the living room to chat over coffee. That’s when I spotted it – a stunning piece of artwork that seemed so familiar to me – as if I’d just seen it in a dream. I asked the hostess about the piece and as she began to recount the story of how it was lost and then found, I felt my heart skip and the color drain from my face.

The oil painting that brought Lisa and Tony together

The oil painting that brought Lisa and Tony together


LISA: I first met Tony when a mutual friend brought him as a guest to a dinner party at my house, in celebration of receiving my Master’s Degree in psychology. I was intrigued by Tony, and was secretly hoping to get to know him better. At a certain point in the evening, he was quite taken with an oil painting on my living room wall and asked me about it.  I recounted to him that two years ago, while visiting my sister in New York City, I had purchased the painting, and then absentmindedly left the package on a subway train in Manhattan. My heart was broken, as it was an original by an artist who I had admired for years, and I had saved for many months to acquire the piece. Much to my disbelief and amazement, I had received a call that evening from the gallery where I had made the purchase. Evidently, the person who found it returned it to the gallery, in hopes that the gallery could contact me.  At this point in my story, Tony’s tanned face suddenly became white as a ghost. When I asked him if he was OK, I was simply flabbergasted at his response. It was Tony who had found the painting on the subway that serendipitous day. Now, just a year later, my hope of getting to know him better has come true, and in true Tony-style, he recently surprised me with the wackiest most endearing proposal.

How he proposed

TONY:  I waited until Groundhog Day to propose. Lisa is a huge animal lover and I wanted the proposal to capture that passion. As groundhogs are not very easy to come by, at least not as pets, my only choices were a rat, a hamster, and a guinea pig. I took my chances on a hamster, since I could fit one comfortably in my coat pocket. We met at our favorite greasy spoon diner around the corner, in honor of Groundhog Day, I told her. Midway through dessert, however, the hamster was making quite a ruckus in my pocket, and I started to squirm around in my seat.

Miles the Hamster was held by Lisa

Miles the Hamster played a big part in the proposal

LISA: On Groundhog Day, Tony sent me an email at work that explained he had a “sudden hankering” to celebrate Groundhog Day at our favorite corner diner. I thought it kind of silly, but I can never turn down an evening at our favorite diner. We were having a wonderful dinner, and enjoying a supersized 3000-calorie dessert, when Tony suddenly started to look nervous and wiggle around in his seat. In a blink of an eye, he grabbed something furry out of his pocket, placed it on the table, and it came running at me. Before I could scream, I looked a bit closer and saw that the creature was a cute hamster, and that it was dragging a diamond ring from a tiny collar around its neck. I said “yes”, though part of me was seriously considering the state of Tony’s mental health, and put the hamster, I later named Miles, in my handbag before we caused a scene and a health department scare.